We’re here on First South and Main Street in the heart of Bountiful, behind a crowd of people trying to get in the front door of a newish red brick building. It could be a bank run, or maybe something to do with Taylor Swift tickets.

Turns out it’s none of the above. The people standing in line are waiting to order a Philly cheesesteak.

This is not a one-time thing, the people queuing up will tell you. Most every day, rain or shine, it’s like this. At lunchtime, there’s no place in downtown Bountiful more popular than Vito’s.

This is true even if, on paper, it doesn’t make sense. At least not in a Harvard Business School business plan sort of way. Consider the following:

Vito’s is open just three hours a day, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and only on Monday through Friday. It’s closed on weekends.

Vito’s accepts only cash; no credit or debit cards.

When Vito’s runs out of food it shuts down. On especially busy days that might be 1:30 or even earlier. At which point, Vito will inform those in line they’ll have to come back tomorrow.

Oh, and when Vito gets sick or takes a vacation (which he does for 212 weeks every April) he tapes a sign on the front door that says, “Closed.”

Vito’s, in short, manages to veto just about everything other conventional eateries do. In the cookie-cutter, copycat, franchised, cutthroat, stressed-out restaurant world, this is the glaring exception.

* * *

At the center of it all is 53-year-old Vito Leone, a friendly man wearing shorts, running shoes and a John Deere ball cap — the unconventional mastermind behind Vito’s many unconventions.

Except for a hired hand named Ron who wipes the tables, restocks the chips and mops the floor during rush hour, Vito’s IS Vito. A one-man band. A solo show. He does it all, takes the order, cooks the food, puts the sandwich on the counter, then waits on the next guy. He does this with remarkable alacrity. The line moves fast. It takes him less than a minute to cook a cheesesteak. The cash-only system works like a Swiss clock. It’s something he picked up from a street vendor selling doughnuts in Manhattan.

“Just put your money in the box and make your own change,” he says. “It’s the honor system. I figured if he can do that in Times Square, New York, I can do it in Bountiful, Utah.”

He likes not hassling with cards, he likes running his own show, he likes keeping things simple. “I don’t want a crew,” he says, “don’t want the hassle.”

He first paid his dues in the mainstream restaurant business. As a kid he learned to love food from his mother, Linda, a great cook who he credits with teaching him everything he knows. Even before he graduated from Kearns High School he was cooking pizzas at a restaurant he later became a partner in. After that folded, he waited tables, bartended, worked the front of the house and the back of the house.

He was managing a bar at Carver’s Steak House in 2007 when he decided to branch out on his own and open a food cart selling pastas, bratwursts and sausage sandwiches. He first tried downtown Salt Lake, with limited success, so he switched to Bountiful, where he got much better feedback when he took his cart to the weekly farmer’s market.

Soon, the food cart evolved into the very first food truck licensed in Bountiful. One day, on a whim he decided to put a Philly cheesesteak on the menu. He’d never made one before. The response was so enthusiastic that one of his customers, John Hepworth, a Bountiful real estate developer in addition to being a cheesesteak connoisseur, offered to build Vito a restaurant on land he owned on Main Street. They shook hands, Hepworth built the red brick building in 2012, and Vito has been doing it his way ever since.

“I run it like a food truck, but I’m inside,” he says.

He has two items on the menu, an Italian sausage sandwich and Philly cheesesteaks, which account for 90-something percent of his business. Everything’s included in the price: drink, chips, even tax.

He takes your order, shouts out what you owe him, then it’s up to you to put the cash in the box on the counter. He says he’s never been short. “People are really honest. Sometimes I’ll find an envelope at the back door with some cash in it from a customer who didn’t make the right change.”

In the beginning he was open for lunch and dinner. “But after working 80-90 hours a week I said, ‘that’s it, I’m going back to lunches.’”

His work days are nine hours now, starting at 7 when he arrives to prep and ending at 4 after he’s cleaned everything and locked the door.

People are constantly telling Vito he should franchise.

“I looked into it,” he admits. “I’m like, nope. I’m a noncorporate kind of guy, I’m just a low tech guy in a high tech world.”

With a line out the door, and no one to answer to other than himself.